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Gum disease is a common dental disorder which affects 47.2% of adults aged 30 and over. Recent studies have found that there may be a link between gum disease and the onset of certain cancers such as stomach cancer and cancer of the gullet. Many people eat healthy to avoid illness such as heart disease or diabetes, but it appears that the prevention of gum disease is even more important than first thought. By researching recent findings, people can learn how to avoid the onset of this common dental disorder.
What is Gum Disease?
Gingivitis, more commonly known as gum disease, is a lifelong disease of the tissue surrounding the teeth and causes bleeding, inflammation and, eventually, tooth loss. The advanced stage of this disease is known as Periodontitis. Almost half of adults over the age of 30 have gum disease and the causes vary depending on lifestyle. The most common reason is smoking but others include poor diet and some illnesses like diabetes. Genetics is also thought to play a role.
Link Between Gum Disease and Cancer
People with a history of periodontal disease and tooth loss were assessed 22-28 years after being diagnosed. It was found that there were several cases of esophageal and gastric cancer. Investigations were made into their lifestyles, diets and dental measures to eliminate any other causes of the cancers. A history of gum disease was found to increase the risk of these cancers by 43% and 52%, respectively. Furthermore, those who lost teeth to gum disease progression were found to have a higher risk of cancer. This shows the importance of prevention in common dental disorders like gum disease.
Prevention of Gum Disease
There are ways to help prevent the onset of gum disease. Developing good oral hygiene is important in its prevention. Visiting a dental professional to remove plaque is also required regularly to ensure that the gums stay healthy. However, smoking is a leading cause of gum disease therefore quitting will reduce the risk of it worsening. Some people are genetically predisposed to the disorder but regular flossing, brushing and dental cleaning can help prevent it developing, where further treatment would be required by a specialist. Overall, the risk of cancer appears to increase with the progression of gum disease into the more serious form, periodontitis. Prevention of this is key to preventing further complications and illnesses.